Inspection and maintenance of oilfield pipelines is not an easy undertaking. When you're dealing with something that has to be so precise and is under such demand, you need to be certain that it's secure. You can't dig up the lines regularly for thorough inspections, so it's important to understand the inspection options. This is especially true if you're new to the oilfield industry and you're just setting up your first pipeline infrastructure. Here are some of the things you should know about pipeline inspections and the benefits of radiography.

Routine Operation Inspections

Once an oilfield pipeline is placed into service, it's essential that it be inspected periodically, otherwise a small crack or minor fracture could lead to devastating breakages. Unfortunately, once it's in service, that's also the most difficult time to access it for inspections.

Luckily, you can complete a comprehensive pipeline inspection without having to shut down your production cycle. Radiography allows you to get a clear picture of your pipes and their condition, including the wall thickness, the condition of the welds and the overall structural stability. With digital production and image transmission, you can watch the whole thing.

How Radiography Works

Digital radiography has become a standard inspection tool for many oilfield services. The process uses an imaging plate now instead of film, making use of the developments in digital technology. It's a highly responsive system, allowing you visibility to areas where traditional imaging equipment may not have worked. The plate contains phosphors, and a laser scanner is used to extract the latent images from the plate. Then, the scanner converts the image to a digital rendering so that you can see it on the display. Wipe the imaging plate clean between uses and it'll hold up to repeated use, unlike disposable radiography film.

Why This is Ideal

Since digital radiology uses phosphor plates, it makes it possible to work in many different types of conditions. This means that you're more likely to get a clear image the first time, every time. When it's important that you look at what's going on immediately and you want to limit radiation exposure from repeated images, this is a great way to do it.

Everything is riding on the condition of your pipelines. As a result, you'll want to be sure that they are secure, intact and ready to face the demands ahead. With digital radiography for your inspection tools, you'll be able to have confidence in your infrastructure. For more information, talk with an oilfield equipment supplier or pipeline inspector.